So I decided to write a young adult dystopian fiction book. This is something new to someone who has specialized in non-fiction piecework for my entire adult life. One of the first things I have had to learn is how to build a fictional world for my characters to live in. It was a daunting task. I had to consider the young protagonist in his home, his school, his community, and his historical era. Then I had to decide what disparaging or encouraging conditions would make his life quest difficult, but not impossible. Now, I must figure out how he will maneuver through his journey, when he will fail, and how he might succeed.
As a result of my writing adventure, I’ve discovered that there is a good reason our teachers, mentors, counselors, and spiritual advisors encourage us to write as a means of growing smarter and wiser. I have found that writing takes my mind beyond my normal daily routine and into the possible future. I have learned and tried new things as a direct result of blogging and composing literary pieces. And now I have built a fictional world. Why stop there? Why not build a real world? For better or for worse some folks are already doing it.
So I decided to find out what ideas people were kicking around out there. As a former fundamentalist evangelical and one who has studied cults and terrorism, I knew about the theocracy builders, and I’m pretty sure they will fail spectacularly. At least, their world won’t be a blessing to anyone other than the despotic and the obscenely wealthy. Definitely not something a truly spiritual person would consider “holy” by any stretch of the imagination. Nor do I see much progress coming out of the naturalist types who want utter freedom without any outside interference, government or otherwise. Ummm….sure it “could” happen, but I doubt it will. Both of these movements are about destroying and rebuilding according to some old blueprint of era’s past – the “good old days” that never were. To which I say, “been there, done that…yawn.”
Then I find those who have learned to let go of worn out nostalgic ideologies and to look at what might work best for the reality of current times and future times. These world builders are my kindred spirits. None are perfect; all are fallible, but they forge ahead until they find plans that stick to the mission and benefit the stakeholders who count most: all of us. Their enemies try to write them off as socialists trying to usher in a larger welfare state. These are big terms that are meant to hold onto power and scare supporters away. But we are social beings who currently live under an ever widening range of hostilities, so we why shouldn’t we care about our well-being?
We are committed to liberal democratic values AND sustainable progress; the two are not mutually exclusive. We don’t eschew Capitalism, but many of us do favor reasonable restraints upon it. We try to do our best until we learn to do better. We believe in freedom and opportunity for all. Many of us hold holistic spiritual view of humankind as beings of vast potential who require the constant nourishment of body and soul, but we avoid clinging to various forms of idolatries. We don’t insert our priorities into others’ lives, and we refuse to let others insert their priorities into ours – this is also known as having appropriate boundaries. Nor will be allow ourselves to devolve back towards unsustainable states of being for the comfort of the narrow-minded.
I have chosen to join in and build a better world for those who want it. My focus will be primarily upon opening avenues to better education opportunities for people of all ages. In the meantime, I plan on highlighting the work of several others who are building better worlds through economic advancement, sustainable labor practices, relevant schools, etc. I hope you will join me in letting go of the past, rejecting unsustainable impulses, and learning to live your life in a better world than what we have now.